Record for greatest number of people, in ethnic costume, to dance around a
maypole was achieved.
Windosr - A popular tradition in Bavaria for locals and tourists is the
“Maibaum Aufstellung” or raising of the Maypole. GTEV Edelweiss Detroit and
GTEV Chiemgau Windsor take Bavarian traditions seriously. So seriously, in
fact, that Chiemgau Windsor raised a Maibaum on May 3 using the traditional
way: manpower. Wayne Stiller spent months planning and preparing the
beautiful Maibaum, painting it in Bavarian blue and white, making the
shields and attachments, and researching how the pushing poles had to be
made and used. Many other members of the Verein helped with the work,
including transporting the pole by tractor to an open field behind the
Teutonia Club in Windsor, Ontario.
On Friday, about thirty men from the area clubs and many more onlookers
gathered for the Aufstellung. Over the course of an hour, the wreath and
shields were added, and the 50-foot pole was successfully pushed and prodded
into place. The good planning, perfect weather, and cold beer helped make
the job enjoyable. The eight shields represented the Chiemgau, Teutonia, and
Edelweiss clubs as well as five businesses that sponsored the Maifest, held
On Saturday, an attempt was made to break a Guinness World Record for
greatest number of people, in ethnic costume, to dance around a maypole. The
dance circle was 120 feet across and held 220 participants of all ages. In
the middle of the circle, five musicians from Edelweiss Detroit’s
“Siasswasser Tanzlmusi” played the “Siebenschritt,” a popular folk dance
done in Bavaria and other places in Europe. For five minutes, the dancers
performed while monitors from Guinness looked on to make sure the rules were
complied with. The dancers were from several area German clubs. What a great
sight! A cheer went up when the dance was finished. Once all the videos,
participant lists, and photos have been reviewed by the authorities at
Guinness, we’re sure the new world record will be held by GTEV Chiemgau of
Windsor and friends.
Chiemgau and Edelweiss belong to the Gauverband Nordamerika, an umbrella
organization comprised of almost 80 Bavarian clubs. GTEV Alpenroesl of St.
Catharines, Ontario, is one of those clubs, and eight of their dancers spent
the weekend at the Maifest. Several dancers from Holz-hackerbuam Toledo,
Ohio, also took part.
The Maibaum Aufstellung and the record brea-king attempt were certainly
highlights of the weekend. Over the four-day Maifest, hundreds of people
took part. Each day of the event was made fun because of the dance music by
the bands that included Golden Keys from Kitchener, Ontario, Harmony Duo of
Detroit, Windsor’s Hetzel Fami-ly Band, and the Cleveland Donauschwäbische
Blaskapelle from Ohio. Edelweiss’s Siasswasser Tanzlmusi also played a few
sets. The audiences also enjoyed performances of traditional Bavarian dances
by the Chiemgau, Edelweiss, and Alpenroesl. Good food and drink were
supplied by the Teutonia Club in their beautiful clubhouse.
GTEV Edelweiss and GTEV Chiemgau have enjoyed a strong friendship since
Chiemgau was founded about 12 years ago. Their mutual love of the Bavarian “Heimat,”
its Tracht, traditions, dance, and music will carry this friendship far into
the future. Chiemgau is going strong with about 30 members of all ages,
including one family with four generations.
Chiemgau members plan to make the Maifest an annual event. And Edelweiss
members already look forward to taking part again next year.
Story & Pictures by Karin Dean-Kraft, Edelweiss Detroit